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I Am The Avalanche Offer Pre-Order For New Album

I Am The AvalancheI Am The Avalanche are offering a pre-order for their new album, Wolverines, due out on March 18th 2014. You can pick up a copy of the opaque pink edition of the vinyl at I Surrender Records‘ webstore, and you can expect news of where to pick up other colours soon. If you’re in the UK, Rude Records has teamed up with the ever-brilliant Banquet Records to offer an exclusive limited edition picture disc pre-order of the record which you can buy here. As well as all of that, the band will be selling copies of the gold on their upcoming US tour. You can find dates over at the band’s website.

The stock count can be found below for those of you keeping count

  • Black/White swirl [ltd. 200] 
  • Non-Metallic Transparent Gold [ltd. 300] 
  • Translucent Red [ltd. 500] 
  • Clear [ltd. 200] 
  • Opaque Pink [ltd. 300] 
  • Translucent Green [ltd. 500]

Also be sure to check out the first single from Wolverines, entitled The Shape I’m In, below.

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Dine Alone Reissues Grade’s “Separate The Magnets” On Vinyl

DineAloneDine Alone Records have announced that they will be reissuing Grade’s classic Separate the Magnets on limited edition vinyl, the first release of the album in this format in over 10 years. This reissue will also come with revamped artwork by bassist Matt Jones and will include extensive notes and unreleased photos from the release era. More details including release dates, pressing information, pre-order details are expected to be announced in the near future, with Dine Alone hinting that there will also be a few other surprises thrown in.
 
In the mean time, you can check out Separate the Magnets‘ track list below, and listen to the album’s first track, Conceptualizing Theories in Motion here.

Punk Rock Bowling Announce First Wave Of Bands

punk rock bowlingThe legendary Punk Rock Bowling festival has announced it’s first wave of bands set to play between May 23rd and May 26th in Las Vegas. The festival, now in it’s 16th year, will see Cock Sparrer, Descendents and NOFX headline alongside a number of other bands.

You can see the full list below.

The festival, which is made up of three nights of festivals, four nights of club shows and a two-day bowling tournament will be selling three-day festival and VIP passes from February 1st, single-day tickets from February 22nd and club show tickets from March 15th on their official website.

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The Flatliners

The Flatliners

Chris Cresswell

Fat Wreck Chords
By on November 26th, 2013 at Head of Steam, Newcastle upon Tyne

 

 

It’s been more than a busy year for The Flatliners. Following the release of their fourth full-length album Dead Language and their split with Make Do and Mend, the guys have been on the road extensively in 2013. I caught up with frontman Chris Cresswell a few hours before their show in Newcastle to have a lengthy chat about their new record, Fat Wreck and their favourite things about the UK. Read More…

2013: Year End Review by Emily Thompson

ThePunkSite.com’s Best Of 2013

The Best of 2013Once again all of us here at ThePunkSite.com have taken the holidays to sit back and revisit all of our favourite albums of the year. Narrowing them down into easy-to-consume list forms – here’s what the people behind the website you’re currently browsing thought of this year’s music output.

 

Bobby Gorman | Cole Faulkner | Steven Farkas | Emily Thompson | Dustin Blumhagen | José Da Costa Cardo Solis | Lanny Bolger


2013: Year End Review by Emily Thompson

2013 has been a great year for Punk Rock, there are no two ways about it. For me, all of the bands I’ve chosen to write about this year have allowed me to escape Hannah Montana’s X-Rated reinvention and have given me some hope that there still is some hope for the music industry, but then again, so has Justin Bieber’s belated retirement…

I haven’t been able to rank the following records numerically, it’s been impossible. A lot of them are pretty much on par in terms of how much I’ve enjoyed listening to them, so if you haven’t checked them out already, I’d really recommend you do so soon. I already have high hopes for next year, and I’m practically soiling myself with excitement and anticipation for Against Me!’s Transgender Dysphoria Blues, The Lawrence ArmsMetropole and La Dispute’s Rooms of the House. But that’s next year, so for now, here’s what I’ve mainly been listening to this year.

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braidedveins Announce Artwork/Tracklisting For Upcoming 12″ EP

Flint, Michigan collective braidedveins have announced the artwork and tracklist for their upcoming 12″ EP, entitled Future/Forever, via Save Your Generation Records. The band, which is made up of The Swellers, Empty Orchestra, Kid Brother Collective, The Conqueror Worm and more, released the EP’s first single The Nature Cruise of the Century! in August. You can see the video here.

Pre-orders will be available from next week as well as a second track. A release show for Future/Forever is scheduled for December 21st 2013 and more details are expected soon. 

You can see the tracklist for the EP below.

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Red City Radio Premiere New Music Video

Red City RadioOklahoma Punk Rockers Red City Radio have announced via their Facebook page that their new video, entitled Two Notes Shy Of An Octave, is being premiered on Punknews.org.

The track is the second release from the band’s upcoming album, Titles, which is due to be released October 15th 2013 through Paper + Plastick. You can preorder Titles here, and watch the video for the album’s first single Show Me On The Doll Where The Music Touched You here.

The Front Bottoms - Talon of the hawk

The Front Bottoms

Talon of the Hawk

Bar None Records
By

Rating: 4.5/5

 
 

 

 

If there’s one thing I’m a sucker for, it’s simplicity. That, and songs I can relate to. The Front Bottoms’ latest effort Talon of the Hawk perfectly encompasses both of those things, and before I start, I do want it to go on record that I’m calling this a strong contender for #3 at least in my end of year list. 

Amusingly so, Talon of the Hawk is kicked off with a track that doesn’t even stretch to two minutes in length. However, Au Revoir – Adios manages to set the bar for the entire album. Brian Sella’s strained vocals and raw lyricism against very little music tell of a failed relationship, but refreshingly so, the cliché of this story is averted with the introduction of a full band effort midway through shouting about Rock n’ Roll and being misunderstood which hooks you in, in a way that only The Front Bottoms know how.

From there, the casual narrative doesn’t let up as Sella begins to bear all, and whilst his partner Matt Uychich does incredibly well to provide a steady beat to his band mate’s musings and the session musicians work relentlessly to provide a juxtaposing noise of jingling guitars and soft keyboard interludes, Sella’s lyricism feels like it could also work on its own as a spoken word piece. It tells of highs and lows, from Skeleton pulling on your heart strings as you remember every failed relationship and fuck up, to Twin Size Mattress pulling the pace back to an almost stand-still. It’s at this point that the band really comes together, and since up to now it’s been The Brian Sella Show, the track details the importance of friendship and pursuing everything you want to do, and it quickly becomes clear that no matter how you’re feeling, The Front Bottoms have a track to match it.

But after the calm comes the danceable indie-pop storm and with vocal styling that would give Blink 182’s Tom DeLonge a run for his money and catchy guitar riffs that should be the soundtrack to your summer, Talon of the Hawk just goes from strength to strength. There’s not much to it really, you don’t really have to sit and think about the lyrics, there’s no ambiguity, and with the likes of The Feud and Backflip proving that this whole album is nothing but a guy telling a series of anecdotes whilst his band mates regularly provide indistinguishable backing chants and 2005-style keyboard sequences.

Granted, The Front Bottoms may not be anywhere near performing in front of thousands of people on a huge stage with these kind of songs, but who cares? Give me a dingy bar, a disgusting beer and a few of my closest friends to sing along to this with over that any day. It’s important to recognise that Talon of the Hawk is a much bigger, more ambitious effort than 2011’s eponymous debut. There’s a fine blend of mature lyricism, and downright fun musical experimentation and if nothing else, this record should make you want to say ‘fuck it.’

The Flatliners - Dead Language

The Flatliners

Dead Language

Fat Wreck Chords / New Damage Records
By

Rating: 5/5

 
 

 

 

Arguably Canada’s finest musical export, The Flatliners are back with a record described by frontman Chris Cresswell as “a stripped back, on the road album. An album to show what they are as a band, a group of hardworking guys, a touring band.”

Initially, I was skeptical, I was anticipating overproduction because after all, this is a studio full-length, right? I was wrong.

It wasn’t until The Great Awake that I really sat up and started paying attention to The Flatliners; to me they were just another ska/punk rock revival band that would die out soon enough and take their random upstrokes here and there with them. Then with The Great Awake it was phased out, and one of my new favourite bands unfolded in front of me. I bought their albums, I went to their show with about 15 or so other people, I cracked a rib (no regrets), and most importantly I believed everything I was singing along to, everything I was screaming my lungs out about. Skip forward a couple of years, past Cavalcade and the extensive touring, and we’re here at the release of Dead Language, the band’s fourth full-length album which, if nothing else, will exceed expectations of fans around the globe.

Resuscitation of the Year kicks off Dead Language, and the title alone is profound in so many ways. A subtle dig at the somewhat sparse Punk Rock movement of mid-2013? Possibly. However, it’s probably more of a nod to the fans that have waited 3 long years between Cavalcade and Dead Language,letting us all know that it’s been worth the wait and that The Flatliners aren’t running out of steam anytime soon. The moody, blues-esque intro is deceptive, but once the track hits the minute mark it’s a completely different story as Cresswell and co. kick in (quite literally) with their fast-paced, throat tearing vocals and riffs that pack a punch so hard, it borders on assault.

Bury Me follows, and whilst the track’s name is oxymoronic to the album’s first, it means nothing other than a welcomed burst of energy that quickly takes Dead Language up another gear, before dropping dramatically with Birds of England, a heartfelt, stripped back track that’s not quite a ballad but proves that the band aren’t one trick ponies. The song is probably the cleanest the band will ever sound, and will ever want to be as anthemic chants ‘I’m never coming home’ ring out for everybody out there stuck alone, giving a glimmer of hope to the fucked over generation. It’s something I don’t doubt will work perfectly in a small, sweaty dive bar somewhere in the US in front of 50 people. Dead Language then goes on to prove that The Flatliners can churn out another Eulogy if they want to as Ashes Away pierces through every other track and gives you a moment to catch your breath.

Casket’s Full goes on to take on an opening riff that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Lawrence Arms record, and easily becomes the catchiest track on the album, and whilst a careful ear will hear Cresswell’s bleak narrative, what really stands out here is the musicianship of Scott Brigham, Jon Darbey and Paul Ramirez as individuals and musicians. Whilst they’re not exactly U2 or someone of similar stadium rock status, Casket’s Full seems to prove one thing only: that The Flatliners are far beyond three chord power punk riffs and instead have something bigger and better to offer, solid, fist-pumping anthems. No cliches, no filler tracks, no heavy production, no bullshit.

Granted, Chris Cresswell and co. aren’t going to change the world and more importantly, they’re not going to change punk rock, but then again they’ve never set out to do that. What you see is very much what you get; which is great, honest music. Their passion is something that can’t be molded, and it shines through in Dead Language. This isn’t just another sub-par record made by a group of guys that pretend they have problems to deal with just so they have some material, Dead Language is instead the perfect way for The Flatliners to say ‘this is who we are, this is what we do and you better listen up.’

Sharks - Selfhood

Sharks

Selfhood

Rise Records
By

Rating: 4.5/5

 
 

 

 

From the raucous pub rock n’ roll noise that was The Joys of Living, to the slightly more anthemic indie rock feel of No Gods, right up to now where we have SelfhoodSharks have only gone from strength to strength since their formation in 2007. Despite only having been around for a short while, Selfhood is not only Sharks’ third full length effort, it is also their last, following the news of their break up in July.

Kicking off Selfhood with the title track, James Mattock starts as he means to finish, by wearing his heart on his sleeve. Whilst there was no hint of a split upon the album’s release, the track is littered with ambiguous references that could be taken as an early indication that Sharks were indeed going to go their separate ways.
“Dead set on the notion to let what you love kill you
My head enjoys to watch it over and over again
Watch it all come to an end.”

Mattock’s tale of self-destruction is not only touching, but it’s one that would resonate with anybody. Supported by his band mates, the track is certainly more polished than the band’s previous releases combined; mixing raw Libertines-esque jangling guitars with a more matured production finish that is almost radio-friendly if it weren’t for the theme of y’know, completely fucking up.

What is a surprise, though, is that Selfhood then turns into being one of the most ambitious Sharks records to date, with Your Bloody Wings experimenting with upbeat rock n’ roll vibes that wouldn’t be out of place at a dancehall revival night, to a softer yet more anthemic Portland that could have been cut from No Gods’ Patient Spider. Staying true to their roots, Sharks keep up their football stadium group chants in order to, if nothing else, prove to us that they can still pack a punch no matter how over-produced Selfhood may sound at times.

The More You Ask Me, The Less I’m Sure is ear piercingly well done. With Mattock and Bayliss’ combined riffs against the former’s effortless and often slurred lyricism, the track shows that Sharks have made a steady transition from amateur snotty garage rock to sharp, clever indie band quicker than anybody ever could predict. Whilst there are a lot of filler tracks throughout, the likes of Sunday’s Hand and I Won’t Taint still have their own special kick that makes Selfhood in it’s entirety the strongest album Sharks have released. Touching from start to finish, if Sharks had to go, I’m glad they’ve gone out on such a high.

Neck Deep Put Finishing Touches To First Full-Length Album

NeckDeepUK Pop Punkers Neck Deep have put the finishing touches to their upcoming full-length album, which is due to be released through Hopeless Records in the near future, following the band signing to the label in August.

Whilst there has been no official release date set, a post on the band’s Facebook page read:

“Our album ‘Wishful Thinking’ is finished. Mixed, mastered and delivered to our lovely new mates at Hopeless Records. We would like to take a moment and thank Seb Barlow, Ben Humphreys at Outhouse Studios, Jordan Valeriote and Troy Glessner for their amazing work in producing, recording, mixing and mastering this album in its various stages. We couldn’t be happier with the results, and we are very very excited for you lot all to hear it.

We are working on a release timeline and some bundle ideas now, but there will be new music, a new video and album pre-orders online in the not too distant future, along with tour news as well. Bare with us folks – we promise it will be worth the wait.”

In the meantime, you can catch Neck Deep alongside fellow Pop Punk newbies Real Friends when they head out in support of The Wonder Years on their upcoming UK tour. Dates can be found below.

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The 1975 Stream Debut Eponymous Album

Vagrant RecordsThe 1975 have made their debut album available to stream via Fader, ahead of it’s official release on September 3rd.

The self-titled effort will be available through Vagrant/Interscope Records and contains several re-recorded tracks taken from the band’s four EP’s which were released throughout 2012 and 2013. The 1975 is currently available to pre-order through iTunes or the band’s site either in CD or vinyl format. 

You can also catch The 1975 on tour across North America and internationally in the coming months. Dates for all upcoming US/Canada shows can be found below and international dates can be found hereRead More…

   

D.O.A. Announce Live Album; Farewell Tour

D.O.A.Legendary Canadian punk band D.O.A. have announced details of an upcoming double live album and farewell tour which will see them play 15 dates from the end of August right up to the end of September.

The live album, entitled Welcome to Chinatown, will be released via Sudden Death Records and will feature 28 classic tracks pulled from albums such as Better Change, Hardcore 81 and Northern Avenger. You can see the complete track list below.

You can also catch the band on their aforementioned farewell tour from August 29th, which will kick off in Bellingham, WA. The tour will serve as a promotional stint for Welcome to Chinatown and D.O.A.’s latest studio album, We Come in Peace which was released last year. 

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Toy Guitar Stream New Song; Announce EP Release Dates

Adeline RecordsToy Guitar are streaming a track taking from their upcoming debut EP. The track, entitled Words Between Us, can be heard here.

Toy Guitar, which compromises members from Swingin’ Utters and One Man Army, will be releasing the EP digitally on September 3rd and physically on October 15th. You will be able to pick up vinyl pressings via Interpunk.com and Adeline’s webstore. The run is limited to 500 and will come in green and white.

Sharks - No Gods

Sharks

No Gods

RIse Records
By

Rating: 3.5/5

 
 

 

 

Rise Records has been the butt of many jokes floating around the internet for a while now, almost all of them poking fun at their approach to signing bands. You could say that Rise are essentially a ‘safety label’ – with almost all of their signings being pretty much the same synthesised, HxC breakdown band (and with this in mind, I really hope Hot Water Music don’t incorporate any weak bro-core breakdowns into their next album). However, it seems that there’s an exception to what I’m going to start calling the ‘Rise Rule’ and that exception is UK punks Sharks.

When No Gods’ first single Arcane Effigies dropped, Sharks essentially turned the UK music scene on it’s head, proving that raucous punk rock is still has as much of a place as it did when it broke through in the 1970s. Littered with backing vocal ‘woahs’ and heavy guitar riffs, singer James Mattock ties his band’s sublime musicianship together with a lazy-sounding snarl that has a likeness to The Clash’s Joe Strummer.

Matthew’s Baby, however, proves that Sharks are not simply a copycat band. Leaning away from British punk rock undertones, the band incorporate more of a refreshing American Rock ‘n’ Roll element that could easily be a reject from The Gaslight Anthem’s most recent effort American Slang, proving that the band is not solely aiming to bring about a (long overdue) revival to the British punk scene.

This being a debut album, Sharks seem to know they have something to prove, and that they’re more than capable of doing so. The thing is though, this is a punk band, and just because they know, it doesn’t mean they’re going to do it. Having already established a unique core sound with compilation album The Joys Of Living 2008 – 2010 last year, the band continue true to form, only proving one thing – that they can’t be pigeonholed.

Patient Spider puts a stop to anyone thinking of pigeonholing the band straight away and as the high pitched, upbeat track plays, I can’t help but think that it wouldn’t sound out of place at a football stadium. As the track pushes on into a more melancholic Turn To You, which ends up being one of the weaker tracks, I wonder if this is simply a filler track. Whilst full of riffs, the track has more of a power ballad feel to it, and everything about the track besides Mattock’s crooning of “why did I turn to you?” is pretty substandard and forgettable.

From this point, No Gods starts to get significantly weaker, with only Dawn Soft Light standing out. Hefty drum beats and high pitched guitar wails accompany the raw lyrics of Mattock and as I listen to the brutal honesty of “I’m living with the wrongs and rights/I’m swallowing a lump of pride” I realise that there are still bands making music for the right reasons, we just have to know where to look.

Propaghandi Stream Remastered Track

PropagandhiPropaghandi are streaming a remastered track from their upcoming  anniversary edition of How To Clean Everything which was originally released in 1993. You can listen to Stick the Fucking Flag Up Your Goddam Ass, You Son of a Bitch here.

The reissue, which was remastered from the original analog reels, is due to be released on August 20th and features the full album, three outtakes that Fat Mike cut from the record, and a rare four-song HTCE demo.

 

   

Sharks Debut Post-Break Up Video “Gold”

SharksUK punks Sharks have debuted a brand new video for their track Gold, taken from their latest album Selfhood which is out now via Rise Records. It is the band’s first release post-break up, you can view it here.

The band also released a 7″ entitled Sons & Daughters in July which is limited to 500 copies and can be purchased here.

   

Anthony Green To Appear On New Balance And Composure Record

Balance and ComposureCirca Survive‘s Anthony Green has announced via his Instagram page that he would be recording guest vocals for Doylestown, PA’s Balance and Composure who are due to release their new album this fall.

Speaking about the collaboration, Green said that he was  “so excited about the new @balanceandcomposure record. I had the honor of singing on a track and I can honestly say its one of the best songs they ever wrote. Go check it out at http://balanceandcomposure.com and tell them how much they rule and tell them I sent ya.”

Balance and Composure announced earlier this week that they would be releasing their second full-length album, The Things We Think We’re Missing, through No Sleep Records on September 10th. The band have released a song from the album, entitled Reflections, which you can listen to here.

IWRESTLEDABEARONCE Premier New Song From ‘Late For Nothing’

iwrestledabearonceLA Metalcore band IWRESTLEDABEARONCE have premiered a track from their upcoming album, Late For Nothing, which is due to be released August 6th through Century Media Records.

The track, entitled I’d Buy That For A Dollar, has been described as a blend of “schizophrenic guitars, buzzsaw riffs and gruff vocals which give way to singer Courtney LaPlante’s angelic chorus.”

The band are currently touring with Every Time I DieChelsea Grin, Veil of Maya, Terror and more as part of the All Stars Tour.

Dates can be found below and the song can be heard here.

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Shooter Jennings And Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band Announce Co-Headline Tour

Reverend Peytons Big Damn BandShooter Jennings and Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band have joined forced to announce a string of co-headlining tour dates across the US during the fall, with the first date kicking off in the Rev’s home town of Bloomington, Indiana on September 27th.

Full tour dates can be found below.

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The Projection - While You Were Out

The Projection

While You Were Out

Self Released
By

Rating: 3.5/5

 
 

 

 

I’ve said it before, and I’ll gladly say it again – Pop Punk is in a great place right now and I couldn’t be happier about it. I often get asked what it is I find so exciting about cheesy lyricism, the same three chords and gang vocals and each time I answer with one word – simplicity. If that answer doesn’t suffice, then I’ll go into a long-winded rant that goes along the lines of how I don’t consider myself to be part of a scene as such, but when I overhear the hardcore kids talking about how many noses they’ve broken in a pit in one night, or how they rag on their other friends for not adhering to the straight edge lifestyle, it makes me think that these so-called scenes that everyone lives and breathes are a bit exclusive and uptight, and that’s a vibe I’ve never experienced at a pop punk show.

That said, and taking my obvious love of the genre into consideration, I was pretty intrigued to see what The Projection had to offer when I was introduced to them. When you load up the band’s press page, you’re met with Trying To Forget, a track that sounds like a more beefed up, synthesised version of Harvey Danger’s Flagpole Sitta. Synthesisers have always been something I’ve had a love/hate relationship with, but The Projection use them well, balancing their power pop hooks with catchy gang vocals and the type of broken-hearted lyricism that every pop punk band should have in their repertoire.

From here, you’re free to choose another of the tracks, and if you’re not already hooked, maybe the title track While You Were Out will change your mind. There’s little use of synthesisers on the track, and instead The Projection show a pleasantly surprising likeness to All Time Low in the So Wrong, It’s Right era with their simple three chord interludes and clean, poppy vocals which are a welcome change from the HxC breakdowns that more and more bands are starting to unnecessarily incorporate into perfectly good songs.

Of course, there are tracks that are yet to grab me, and I’m still unsure whether I haven’t listened to the likes of Always Remember and Just Be Yourself enough to let them grow on me, or whether I just can’t get into stripped back, all-about-feelings tracks at all, regardless of the band I’m listening to.

For me, While You Were Out is what Pop Punk is all about. No matter how old I get, I’ll always be a sucker for lyrics centred on teenage angst and trying to find your way in the world and I think every kid who grew up listening to those same Sum 41 and Blink-182 songs as I did will have the same feeling, irrespective of what scene they consider themselves to be a part of now. The Projection encompass almost every single wave of Pop Punk I’ve enjoyed listening to over the years, from Take Off Your Pants And Jacket to Rise Or Die Trying to Real Talk and for that, I’m grateful.

Less Than Jake - Seasons Greetings

Less Than Jake

Seasons Greetings…

Sleep It Off Records
By

Rating: 3.5/5

 
 

 

 

Cast your mind back to one day last summer, when Less Than Jake released Greetings From… – the first of new material since 2008’s GNV FLA. Skip forward to February 2012 and we’ve been treated to yet another surprise release from the band. This time in the form of Greetings From…’s counterpart Seasons Greetings…

Opening track The New Auld Lang Syne surprises me a little, in that it kicks off with a fade in of Chris DeMakes’ throaty ‘whoa ohs’ rather than the straight-up-in-your-face approach that Less Than Jakeusually take. Once the track gets going, though, it proves itself to be a contender for the ultimate summer jam – combining fast paced punk rock and a powerful horn section that doesn’t take its foot off the break throughout.

Done And Dusted, on the other hand, completely contrasts the majority of Seasons Greetings… and upon the first few listens, the slower vibes of the track make it almost forgettable. It’s the likes of Finer Points Of Forgiveness that really stand out and make up for it though, a track that mixes fast paced punk rock with powerful horn parts to produce a manic two and a half minute sound clash that is ultimately smoothed over by Roger Manganelli’s melodic vocals to prove that twenty years down the line, Less Than Jake still have it, whatever ‘it’ is.

The EPmay not be Less Than Jake’s greatest effort, but it still packs a punch that you can’t ignore. Although I’m yet to listen to it as relentlessly as I have it’s counterpart, there’s something that will always keep me coming back to this band no matter how much my taste in music changes. If you’re looking for upbeat ska punk melodies twisted with down but not out lyricism as it should be, then look no further.

Green Day - Uno

Green Day

¡Uno!

Warner Music
By

Rating: 3.5/5

 
 

 

 

Firstly, let me start off by saying that this band is the first “punk” band I ever listened to. My parents bought me American Idiot when it was released in 2004, when I was 10 years old and I have fond memories of listening to it night after night for hours on end when I came home from school. It’s not classed as a “cool” album to like, and I’ll probably lose a lot of hipster internet points for even admitting that I still own it, but whatever, that album shaped my taste in music as it is today. Imagine my excitement when I heard that in 2012, my favourite band between 2004 and 2006 was releasing not one, but three albums. That surely had to make up for 21st Century Breakdown, right? Not exactly.

Littered with generic similes and forced rhyming, “Nuclear Family” is a track that I probably shouldn’t like, but fuck it, I do. It’s the Green Day that my 10 year old self knows and loves and it’s a pretty strong start to a trilogy of albums that admittedly I was probably a little bit too excited about. Whilst it’s not anything revolutionary, the catchy 3:00 minute track, with it’s raw vocals, faint token “whoa ohs” and steady drum beat, only needs one play to firmly implant itself into your brain. If you’re still not convinced, there’s even a little lesson ala Billie Joe Armstrong about counting backwards from 10 to finish off on, lovely eh?

“Let Yourself Go” is the go to track if you’re looking for a punchy punk rock anthem that keeps true to form, whilst it could quite easily be a reject from 2004’s American Idiot, the catchy sing-along chorus and Armstrong’s gravelly vocals cruelly gives me hope that ¡Uno! is going to steadily improve, and whilst I end up being sorely disappointed nearing the end, ¡Uno! closes with my favourite track, and unbelievably, it’s one I absolutely hated it to begin with. Anyone that knows me knows my vendetta against boring, repetitive songs but “Oh Love” got into my head like a parasite when it was released as a single and it still hasn’t left. It has an old American Rock ‘n Roll feel to it, and Armstrong’s guitar work is certainly something to be admired. Lyrically, like the vast majority of the album, nothing really stands out to me but Armstrong’s pained vocals make it believable, and it’s only at this point that I realise just how much better his harmonies have gotten over the years.

Here’s where my criticisms start, and quite frankly, I don’t even know where to begin. It’s not that ¡Uno! is a bad album, but it’s just a haphazard combination of American Idiot/21st Century Breakdownclippings and direct rips of other and better tracks that I can’t bring myself to enjoy at all. “Kill The DJ” may as well be The Clash’s “The Magnificent Seven” which would be forgivable (what with The Clash being one of my all time favourite bands and all) if the lyrics weren’t so God awful. I get the feeling that the effort Green Day have put in to producing a trilogy of albums has ultimately backfired. Instead of putting out one high quality album, ¡Uno! is instead merely littered with needless profanity to fill spaces in tracks, and there’s very little creativity from a musical perspective. It feels lazy and anyone that was to listen to the first three bars of almost every song on this album with no prior knowledge of it would instantly be able to recognise it as a Green Day song, and since this is a band I’ve grown up with and a band that I will always have a soft spot for, normally I’d say that I’m okay with that. But I’m not. There are so many great up and coming bands out there, so many that cite Green Day as an influence and I get the feeling that they haven’t tried at all with this album, that they can’t be arsed anymore and that they have no desire to continue to inspire like they used to and quite frankly, I don’t think I’ll bother with the following two.

I think it would be fair to say that ¡Uno! isn’t made up of many, if any, “stand out” tracks. The likes of “Stay The Night” and “Loss of Control” carry themselves with the same melody as those before and after, the same lack of lyrical depth and lack of conviction, which really does lead me to question whether Green Day really are past it now. There’s very little to comment on Green Day’s musicianship, with Tre Cool, Mike Dirnt and Jason White (yes, that ever elusive but existent unofficial member) dragging their trusty three chords back for another round. Yes, it’s true that there’s room for improvement with another two instalments of this trilogy yet to grace us, but all I can say is don’t get your hopes up.

I Am The Avalanche - Avalanche United

I Am The Avalanche

Avalanche United

I Surrender Records
By

Rating: 4/5

 
 

 

 

Six years after their release of the self-titled I Am the Avalanche, Vinnie Caruana and co. are back with their latest effort Avalanche United. For an album inspired by Caruana’s visit to hell and back in his life, you would probably expect a dose of whiney crap, right? Wrong. It’s clear from the first few minutes that this is going to be an upfront and brutally honest record, and I Am the Avalanche doesn’t disappoint.

Kicking off with Holy Fuck, a track which manages to encompass all of the albums inspirations into just under three minutes, Vinnie Caruana (ex-Movielife) quickly establishes himself as the spokesman for everyone that’s ever been through a rough time. There’s an underlying sense of optimism littered throughout the track, perhaps most notably in the lyric “I’ve sorted out my life, my tragic life,” and against the gang vocals and catchy hooks, it makes for a perfect pop-punk opener.

What’s really special about the delivery on even the slightly weaker songs – like Amsterdam – is Caruana’s ability to deliver the lyrics with conviction in his notably harsh tone. Everything he sings, or even screams, is definitely something almost every listener will be able to relate to in some way. Caruana has a lot to say for himself on this record, but I Am the Avalanche really do cover every possible bit of ground here, from the breakdown of relationships, to the resolution of his own problems, to the importance of his friends to him in the likes of Dead Friends.

Avalanche United is an album of contrast; it’s undoubtedly a display of Caruana facing his demons in the likes of Is This Really Happening? Despite that, there’s still a lot of light heartedness, particularly inThis One’s on Me, which stays true to form and is delivered in the same way as most other tracks up to this point – catchy and seemingly shorter than it really is. The album is far from being overproduced and if nothing else, showcases I Am the Avalanche for what they really are – five people making real music, and writing about things that matter.

For me, this really is what punk rock should be. Ballsy anthems sung with raw emotion, faced paced guitars, melodic gang vocals and heavy drum beats. For me, the six year wait was definitely worth it, because Avalanche United isn’t a record I’ll be forgetting about any time soon.

Enter Shikari - A Flash Flood Of Colour

Enter Shikari

A Flash Flood Of Colour

Hopeless Records
By

Rating: 2.5/5

 
 

 

 

If you had asked me to describe Enter Shikari’s sound based on 2007’s Take To The Skies and 2009’s Common Dreads, I would probably make a few ‘dubstep’ sounds and shout a few loosely related words strung together in an exaggerated English accent. That’s all I could do, because unlike everyone else, I fail to see the supposed ‘sheer brilliance’ of a Post-Hardcore band that milk the same synthesiser samples time and time for all it’s worth. In all honesty, A Flash Flood Of Colour is an album I was initially going to avoid completely, but after countless people telling me to give it half a chance and trying to throw me against my will onto the Enter Shikari bandwagon, I thought I’d sit down with it and give it a proper listen. After all, if I was finally going to be on that bandwagon, I was going to be on there by choice.

For anyone that has ever said that this band is totally original in what they do, though, I’d say you’re a little far off the mark. Whilst Enter Shikari were all about the synthesised breakdowns, bass drops and indistinguishable lyrics long before Skrillex came trotting along with his computer in tow, I always thought of this band as one that went against the grain. With that in mind, I thought that the sudden boom in the popularity of dubstep would put them off over-computerising everything, but from the third track Sssnakepit to the very end, empty breakdowns and too many computer sound clashes overshadow the potential that this band have to make a great concept album. Much of the album lacks diversity, and I find it hard to distinguish one track from another without having my iTunes library open in front of me. In fact, Ghandi Mate, Ghandi could be a Super Mario tune on acid. Here was me thinking ‘Nintendo-core,’ as the brutal kids called it, died with MySpace. Remember MySpace?

Giving credit where it’s due, though, Enter Shikari have certainly thought outside the box this time and they’ve ditched what I always thought were pretty nonsensical lyrics – see my earlier point of shouting a string of loosely related words in a sequence. A Flash Flood Of Colour has allowed for some experimentation lyrically, rather than musically and the band have certainly taken a newly found political stand. Opener System… addresses the sociological, and perhaps more prominently, the economical problems of England through the use of a hard hitting metaphor, depicting the country as a cliff top house threatened by coastal erosion, ultimately a reflection of the recession. Rou Reynolds’ angst is well matched against cleaner cut, Depeche Mode-esque synthesiser melodies that quickly fade into …Meltdown, which works both as an extension on the first track and as a track in it’s own right. The song is slightly more pandering to the band’s core sound, but it’s delivered intelligently and for me, the two tracks sort of show two sides to a story, something I have to commend given the average age of Enter Shikari’s fan base, because if nothing else, at least they’re doing their bit to be educational.

Whilst I’m still a long way off being on the aforementioned metaphorical Enter Shikari bandwagon, I do have some new found respect for what they’ve done with this album. Reynolds has proven himself to be a competent lyricist and from his words is where much of the band’s new found maturity has derived from. It seems that behind A Flash Flood Of Colour, there’s a message, and it’s one that extends beyond the usual ‘brutal breakdowns and fucking shit up in the pit.’ I just haven’t quite got it yet.

Metallica Launch New Record Label And Take Ownership Of Masters

MetallicaMetal heavyweights Metallica have unveiled a new record label – Blackened Recordings.

The band have announced that they have taken ownership of all of their master recordings,  including all music and long form videos.

 “We would like to thank everyone at the Warner Music Group for 28 years of a fantastic relationship, particularly since 1994 where we truly felt we had partners in every aspect of our business in North America,” said the band’s James Hetfield about the decision.

Blackened Recordings was created by the band as a home for all of their recordings, both audio and visual, and anything else that suits them.  The label will handle all marketing and promotion duties and will enter into a deal with Rhino Entertainment, who will manufacture and distribute its releases in North America.  Blackened Recordings will license their releases to the Universal Music Group internationally.

 “It’s always been about control for us as a band,” claims drummer Lars Ulrich.  “Forming Blackened Recordings is the ultimate in independence, giving us 100% control and putting us in the driver’s seat of our own creative destiny.”

 The first release from Blackened will be “Quebec Magnetic” on Monday, December 10, 2012.  “Quebec Magnetic” is a live DVD capturing the two World Magnetic live shows from Quebec City in the fall of 2009. 

Fans can order the DVD from the band’s website

   

Slam Dunk Announces First Wave Of Bands

Leeds-based record label Slam Dunk Records has announced the first wave of bands set to take to the stage in 2013 as part of their annual dual-location weekend festival held in May each year. All Time Low and Four Year Strong are set to fill headline slots, with The Early November, The Skints, The Wonder Years, Polar Bear Club, Streetlight Manifesto and Senses Fail also set to appear across 7 stages. More announcements are expected in the coming weeks.

Slam Dunk North will take place at Leeds University on Saturday 25th May 2013 whilst Slam Dunk South will follow on Sunday 26th at Hertfordshire University. A third date has also been exclusively added, and will take place on Monday 27th at Wolverhampton Civic. Tickets go on sale Friday 7th December, priced at £34 for General Admission and £38 for General Admission + Aftershow.

 

   
Anthony Raneri - New Cathedrals

Anthony Raneri

New Cathedrals

Gumshoe Records
By

Rating: 4/5

 
 

 

 

I’ve always had a lot of respect for Anthony Raneri as a songwriter, and for years I’ve credited Bayside with being one of the bands that helped me make that transition from bad music that no-one should ever admit to listening to, to music that has had a massive impact on me as I’ve grown up. Despite that, I’ve never had the chance to see Raneri perform a solo show, and even if I had, up until recently it would have been Bayside material and nothing more. Whilst those songs sound incredible acoustic, at least from what I’ve heard from even the lowest quality YouTube videos, the idea of new material from theBayside front man had me pretty excited to see what he could do away from a full band effort.

Opening track Sandra Partial is quite possibly one of the catchiest songs you’ll hear this year, and you can quote me on that. The country-tinged, crooning love song is something I doubt anyone expected, but it’s a welcome surprise that sets the bar high for what’s to come. The EP could go one of two ways, and thankfully it goes the right way. Following tracks like Charleston and The Ballad Of Bill The Saintblend darker lyricism with upbeat melodies and hint at a wide range of influences, and if you didn’t already know this was the work of a man that fronts a punk band, I doubt you’d be able to guess. It’s a simple EP, a small collection of folksy songs that maintain a hard done to message – a good example being Please Don’t Leave, a pained, stripped back ‘campfire ballad’ that repeatedly pleads “save this sinking heart from its restraining chest.”

If anyone ever doubted Anthony Raneri’s diversity as a musician, this is solid proof that he’s comfortable with breaking the Bayside mould. In all honesty, it’s not the most memorable EP you’ll ever hear, but ifNew Cathedrals turns out to be merely a preview of what we can expect from Raneri this year, then any other alternative solo artists that are planning on dropping new material in 2012 have to pull some serious surprises out of the bag.

Gallows Stream New Self-Titled LP On NME.com

Punk band Gallows have teamed up with NME.com to stream their highly anticipated eponymous record a day ahead of it’s official release (Monday 10th September). The album will be released by the band’s own label – Venn Records

The record is the first full length from the band since the departure of founding member and front man Frank Carter, who left last year to work on his side project Pure Love.

Gallows released their first EP with new front man Wade MacNeil (ex-Alexisonfire) in shortly after Carter’s departure and were met with mixed responses from critics and fans alike.  Speaking about the album, the band said:

“We made this record self-titled as it musically defines the band known as Gallows as we exist today. This is the first of many releases to come from the house of Venn Records, our imprint, hijacked from PIAS those long standing backers of independent rock n roll. This our statement of intent, our laugh in the face of those who said Gallows were done when in reality we’re just warming up. We couldn’t feel more vindicated and proud.”

You can catch the band touring the UK in October, dates can be found below.

Read More…

   

Video: The Gaslight Anthem – ’45’

Gaslight AnthemDiffuser.fm is streaming a brand new lyric video for The Gaslight Anthem‘s ’45’, taken from their new album Handwritten which was released July 24th on Mercury Records.

You can check out the video by clicking here (region restricted).

Reading And Leeds 2012 Announce First Wave Of Bands

After months of speculation, the first Reading and Leeds announcement has been made today.

Foo Fighters, The Cure and Kasabian will headline the main stage, being joined by the likes of The Black Keys, Paramore, Florence and the Machine, The Gaslight Anthem, Angels and Airwaves, Bullet For My Valentine, Enter Shikari and You Me At Six.

Justice, Maccabees and the newly reformed At The Drive-In will headline the NME/Radio 1 stage over the weekend, with more acts – including those for The Lock Up stage – expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

The festival will take place over the August Bank Holiday weekend (24th – 26th). You can see the full lineup and buy tickets directly from the Reading and Leeds websites.